Archives For Mass Transport

Metro Manila is going to encounter what I call a Traffic Tragedy.  This week work on the Skyway Project 3, which would connect South to North or vice versa, started already.  People and the Philippine government are panicking, as they are anticipating the head ache inducing traffic congestion that would ensue, as construction will be starting soon, and some of the roads are being closed/narrowed to make way for the project.  I do concur with the initial reaction of the public, but I would like to point out to the Philippine government, that there are a few avenues that can be explored, to lessen the impact of the major road projects that would last for 2 years or more.

The government could revive the Pasig River Ferry Service, which would provide an alternative mode of transportation for the public, as long as the Pasig River is cleaned, so as not to hamper the operations of the ferry service, and also informal settlers along the Pasig River should be relocated, so as not to add to the pollution of the river.  The ferry service could also be a tourist attraction likes the river or ferry services of European cities, if all of those mentioned before are met.  Also the ferry service would be running smoothly as there is no traffic in the river passages, which would mean faster travel time for the public.

Also the government could adapt what is already present in Europe, in developed cities, and even in our very own backyard.  What I mean is the rent a bike program and bike paths in major cities  overseas.  This would provide alternative mode of transport and at the same time a healthy way to exercise for the public.  Our very own Makati has a bike rental program in place already, which we can further enhance and replicate in Metro Manila cities.

Also we can use the existing transport facilities we have, such as the PNR (Philippine National Railways) train which plies from Alabang to Tutuban, the LRT, and MRT.  We just need to have it developed further, such as adding train service, frequency, and if possible add more carriages/cabins.

There is also another alternative mode, which is popular in the United States, which is the carpooling.  This would lessen the numbers of vehicles on the roads, and save more on fuel.  In the U.S. the system works like this, in a neighborhood one person with a vehicle(car/van) picks up those who joined the carpool, and brings them to a certain location close to the working locations of those who joined the carpool.  Each passenger either pitch in by paying for fuel, and other costs (parking, incidentals) incurred by the vehicle, during the duration of the carpooling, this is done on a monthly, weekly, daily basis, depending on the vehicles owners whim.  This can be done either one way or roundtrip, based on the agreement that was made.

There are various possibilities to explore.  The only thing that would make it all work is through the cooperation of the government, and the public.  Because if either one of them, does not do its part, then the whole system will not work, adding to more head aches for both parties.

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Our government cannot implement changes within each of its many departments, which is why we are lagging behind our Asian counterparts.  It is because each individual, especially those who are in the higher chain of command, has each their own agenda.  Changes that is crucial for the country to grow are being hampered, as it might prove to be a money losing option for the departments management.  Each one is in it to enrich himself/herself, no one is looking for the benefit of the country, and for the improvement of the lives of millions of Filipinos, impoverished or otherwise.

Why can’t we copy or duplicate the methods used by other countries in implementing changes that would improve the lives of its citizens? Do not think of it as not being original, or plagiarizing, but think of it as improving the lives of every Filipino.

In Hong Kong, the Mass Transit Railway is controlled by the government, and so is the payment system that it uses, the Octopus Card.  They have proven and shown that the business is sound and profitable earning the government billions of dollars in revenue, while at the same time creating a clean, convenient, and comfortable mass transport and payment system, that has been a great factor in improving the lives of its citizens.  Why can’t we adopt their system, and duplicate it here? What is stopping us?

Why are our airports dilapidated and in shambles? Where has all the money that has been invested into it go? Why do we need too many terminals? Can’t we create one mega terminal to service all of the flights? This would eliminate unnecessary employment to numerous individuals, who sometimes do nothing, and just sit around, beefing up their pockets? Why can’t we copy Hong Kong (again), and the way it runs its airport? Their airport and ours are so far apart.  The only difference I see here is because the head of the governments, compliment and continue what the previous head of government has done, unlike here, the new one undermines and destroys the good that the previous one has done.  Don’t they know that these improvements would have bettered the lives of the millions of Filipinos?

Why are our mass transport systems unstructured and in shambles? Why are there numerous buses who are old, and dilapidated that still ply the streets, which breakdown, create traffic, and causes accidents? Why are their franchises renewed time and time again, and are not revoked even if their buses have cause numerous accidents, and unnecessary deaths? Why are there so many taxis, jeeps, tricycles, and other forms of mass transport franchises that are approved, even if the streets are littered with them, who do not have passengers?

Why does the government not install solar powered lights or provide solar energy to those affected by disaster, and isolation, even if it takes years for the energy providers to repair or install light or power? Why does the government wait and see, and not help improve the plight of the Filipinos? Are they afraid that power generators/energy suppliers complain? They can remove or pull out these improvements, when they have repaired or installed light or electricity, and simply transfer or reuse them again when the need arise.

I am not one to complain, but I have seen enough suffering and not enough action, that it has left me wondering and disgruntled by the inept and inaction that our government is doing.  When can we be proud? When can we say that our lives have improved? When will our descendants see the day that our beloved Philippines, is at par with the rest of the world, or at least with its Asian neighbors?